June 10th, 2010
The first is an article about a disabled California Highway Patrol retiree who collects over $100,000 per year as a disability pension and “was hired by the federal government to be security director at San Francisco International Airport” (2007 followup).
The second is a Sacramento Bee tool for searching state employee salaries. Pick an agency and then click “search” and the top-paid workers are displayed. Selecting “California Highway Patrol”, for example, brings up a sergeant earning $304,477 per year. When you reflect that the average worker’s pension is approximately the same cost as his or her salary (using realistic assumptions about investment returns and the likely life expectancy of someone who comfortably retires to the golf course at age 50), this is an entire page of state workers who are being given more than $500,000 per year in total compensation. The pension system itself is apparently hugely expensive to run, with plenty of workers there earning over $300,000 per year. Fish and Game are cheaper, with only 4.5 pages of people being paid more than $95,000 per year (plus pension obligations of at least another $95,000, for a total of $190,000/year if compared to a private industry salary).
The healthiest, largest male chickadees have the highest crests on their heads and they are sought after as mates. When researchers outfit runt males with little pointed caps, much like the human dunce cap, females line up to mate with them, forsaking the naturally fitter, hatless males.